Knockout City's "mechanics works brilliantly" regardless of platform

Knockout City arrives with a small reputation.

It's just the second title from developers Velan Studios - but with the backing of publishers EA behind KO City, eyebrows have been raised.

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With the Dodgeball-inspired title running seamlessly across a range of platforms and having various entry points thanks to a low price, Xbox Game Pass and EA Play - it's got everything required to be a modern-day classic.

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First Impressions

Knockout City is mayhem - but man is it fun!

Once you familiarise yourself with the controls, it won't take you long before you start developing strategies with your teammates to DodgeBRAWL your way to greatness.

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KNOW YOUR SURROUNDINGS - The maps can be just as dangerous as your opponent

For those who haven't been following the game's development, imagine games of dodgeball taking place in various locations in a weird and wonderful city - featuring epic power-ups.

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You can even "Ball Up" and be thrown by one of your teammates to take out multiple opponents.

It may take you an hour or two of gameplay to get used to the various ball types and maps - knowing where danger lies - but once that is mastered, you can annihilate the opposition.

Gameplay

The mechanics in Knockout City work brilliantly - whether that is powering up and throwing the ball, or dealing with the crazy world of the various maps.

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GET THE LOOK - There's plenty of customisation options and unlockables to make sure you and your crew is on point

Once the initial fun wears off, frustration can set in when you're struggling to catch your opponent's balls, or accidentally falling off the map, losing a point for your team.

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We can't wait to see what happens in the coming months as the Knockout City team release Seasonal content, including new maps, and hopefully new ball types to keep us guessing.

The key takeaway from the gameplay is that whatever platform you play on, you'll receive almost the same experience.

The only two platforms with native 4K and an FPS boost are PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.

Game Modes

Referred to as "playlists" in Knockout City, there is enough variation here to keep you playing.

Team KO (3v3)

  • First to 10 KOs wins a round
  • First to 2 rounds wins a match
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The OG playlist.

Whilst you get to grips with the game, stick with Team KO.

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GE TO GRIPS - Team KO is the training ground to KO City greatness

The skills you pick up here - most importantly catching - will stand you in good stead for the other playlists.

Plus, the maps will be the same across the entire game - so make sure you have the basics nailed in a range of locations.

Diamond Dash (3v3)

  • KO opponents to make them spill diamonds
  • Points are earned by collecting opposing team diamonds before they can make them safely
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We are yet to get a taste of Diamond Dash, but this is a great variation and a smart take on the likes of Halo's Oddball - just make sure you don't get caught when you've got a full purse!

Party Team KO (3v3)

  • All special balls available
  • First to 10 KOs wins the round
  • First to 2 rounds wins a match
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This will be bedlam - and we're sure it will become one of the more popular playlists.

With all ball types available all bets are off - so make sure you know what damage each ball can do.

Check out the various ball types here.

Face-Off (1v1)

  • First to 2 KOs wins the round
  • First to 2 rounds with the match
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Got a score to settle?

Look no further than face-off where you can grab bragging rights over your online friends.

Plus, it could be a good training ground if you are struggling with the chaos of Team KO.

Ball-Up Brawl (4v4) - Arriving Season 1

  • No balls (players have to Ball Up)
  • First to 15 KOs wins the round
  • First to 2 rounds wins the match
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We can't wait for this - balling up is the most fun part of the game, and with the ability to take out multiple opponents when charged up, all hell will break loose!

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ALL ABOARD - New map Jukebox Junction also arrives in Season 1

Expect Ball-Up Brawl to be the most popular playlist as soon as Season 1 lands, standing us in good stead for Seasonal content to come.

League Play - Arriving Season 1

  • Ranked playlists
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Bossing the playlists? Then head to League Play to move up the leaderboard.

Who knows, maybe Knockout City has the potential to be an esport - taking you and your crew to new heights.

Verdict

The initial adrenaline rush of Knockout City is just brilliant - and not something we've experienced since the early days of Fortnite.

That said, once you've played through the various maps, sussed out the ball type meta, and churned through the playlists - things could get stale.

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LOCK & LOAD - Power-up your ball for the ultimate strike

Fortunately, there is an incentive to keep playing as you grow XP and improve the look of you and your Crew.

Perhaps the huge saving grace for Knockout City is something we haven't even seen yet - Ball-Up Brawl.

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With that epic mode kicking off the Seasonal content for the EA-Velan title, it's an incredible start - and with plenty of players likely jumping aboard with the 10-day Block Party free trial, EA and Velan have put everything in place for this game to be a success.

RealSport Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

We reviewed Knockout City on Xbox One.

Knockout City arrives on Thursday, 21 May 2021 on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch and PC.